Review: The Seventeenth Century – ‘Part I’ (Electra French)

Posted: May 17, 2011 in Reviews
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The Seventeenth Century’s reputation, particularly in their adopted hometown of Glasgow, has grown at a furious rate since their inception in 2009.  They deal in effervescent and adventurous folk-rock, where traditional instrumentation meets with euphoric 4-part harmonies.  It’s a heady mix and one that proves to be very intoxicating over the course of this 4-track 10″ EP.

It would be all too easy to label this quintet as Scotland’s answer to Arcade Fire, the songs certainly set out on similar enchanted paths to that of their Canadian counterparts.  But there’s a little more than meets the eye here.  ‘Amongst Other Things’ for example, experiments with various woodwind and acoustic instruments and twinkling piano to create a beautiful tapestry of sound, reminding of Danish collective Efterklang.  Lead track ‘Young Francis’, meanwhile, wanders into the Prog/Folk territory occupied by Shearwater, the vocals particularly reminding of Jonathan Meiburg’s melancholic croon albeit with a distinctive Scottish edge to the tone.  Its hook-filled choruses and marching-band drums are certainly an EP highlight

The vocals, in fact, are wistful and infectious throughout, containing a certain quality that keeps you going back for more, with the celebratory ‘Countryside’ being a case in point — the only complaint here is that it ends all too abruptly. I can imagine this would all be a joy to behold live, the aforementioned harmonies (think Beach Boys-quality here) alone would be interesting to witness, and there are reviews online to back this up.  Which makes it all the more pleasing that The Seventeenth Century’s career is unfolding in my own back yard.

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